Sebastian Vettel topped the timesheet as both Ferrari and Red Bull ended their testing programmes early after mechanical gremlins. Here’s a round-up of all the action from the final day of pre-season testing!
Taking part in today’s session were Kimi Raikkonen at Alfa Romeo, Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari, Carlos Sainz at McLaren, Sergio Perez at Racing Point, Max Verstappen at Red Bull, Daniil Kvyat at Toro Rosso and Robert Kubica at Williams. Haas, Mercedes and Renault split driving duties for the day. Romain Grosjean, Valtteri Bottas, and Daniel Ricciardo drove in the morning session for their respective teams, while Kevin Magnussen, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Hulkenberg took over in the afternoon.
The major talking points from the final day of pre-season testing centered around who was off-track, rather than the action on it. There were three red flag periods on day eight, the first came just minutes before the chequered flag of the morning session, caused by Kimi Raikkonen. The Alfa Romeo driver returned to the track after the lunch hour, however. The second red flag of the day was for Sebastian Vettel, who came to a halt around Turn 3. Electrical issues were to blame as the car stopped 90 minutes into the afternoon session. With the issue not being a quick fix, and repairs taking longer than the time left in the session, the team called an early end to their day; Vettel completing 110 laps before his stoppage.
The other absentee was Max Verstappen. Red Bull had repaired the RB15 following Pierre Gasly’s heavy crash on Thursday, but Verstappen completed only 29 laps before returning to the garage for much of the day. The team blamed gearbox issues and were hopeful of returning to the track – but they didn’t make it back out before the final chequered flag of pre-season testing.
The final red flag of the test was caused by Kevin Magnussen, who stopped on track with just fifteen minutes of the session remaining.
On track, the lap time tumbled on the final day. The ultimate pace was set by Vettel, who lapped with a 1:16.221 in the morning session 0.010 seconds faster than team-mate Charles Leclerc managed on Thursday. It was a lap time which wouldn’t be beaten in the afternoon – though Mercedes came very close, with Lewis Hamilton setting a time just 0.003 seconds slower than the German. Vettel recorded the fastest middle sector seen over the eight days, while Hamilton was faster than anyone else in the final sector.
After their problems, Red Bull were only one of two teams to complete less than 100 laps today, with Williams also touring ten laps short of a century. Haas completed the most laps, with 167, while Carlos Sainz put in the most laps for a single driver with 137.
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW
WINTER TESTING DAY 8 RESULT:
Do Ferrari really have the advantage as we head into the 2019 season? We’ll find out for sure at the Australian Grand Prix in just two weeks!
Nicky Haldenby is a freelance writer from Scarborough, England. After graduating from the University of Hull in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. Now in its fourth season, the blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics. Nicky also writes at F1Destinations, and sister site GPDestinations, where he shares regular race previews and articles focussed around the latest in Formula 1 calendar and venue news. In 2017 and 2018, he wrote for Badger GP. Nicky can also be heard regularly as a guest on various Formula 1 radio shows and podcasts.